Is Your Child Outdoors Enough?
By Rachel Wells
The great outdoors is pretty great, and just because summer has come and gone, does not mean it’s time to head inside yet!
Kids who regularly play outdoors lead more wholesome lives. Their imaginations come alive when they take a break from their indoor and more regimented parts of life, and head out to the freedom of nature.
In an ideal world, kids would spend 3-5 hours a day outside. We lead busy lives, but even with the busiest of schedules, it is possible to spend at least some quality time outside each day. And it’s worth the effort – the benefits of time spent outside go beyond the fresh air!
Benefits of regular time outside include:
Better School Performance
Time spent outside increases cognitive brain function, creativity, and problem solving skills.
Improved physical health
Children who spend time outside are more active. Active children will likely grow into more active and healthy adults.
More friends and improved social skills
Children who meet other kids outside and engage in imaginative play together have improved social and conversational skills.
Less depression and anxiety
There is a strong connection between the amount of time spent outside and reduced levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
This benefit may be just as much for you as it is your child. Getting children moving outdoors leads to more endorphin production, which leads to getting a better night’s sleep.
Looking for some fun and unique outdoor activities that will encourage your child to head outside? Check out the ideas below:
Build a Fort
Use outdoor chairs, trees, sticks, and playground equipment along with some blankets to make the ultimate outdoor fort!
Take a Walk
Explore your neighborhood, find a new trail, hunt for bugs, or collect treasures from nature.
Go Park Hopping
Walk or ride your bike to new parks or playgrounds in your area. See how many you can visit in one day, or over one weekend.
Take Out the Toys
Bring toy trucks into the mulch or rocks, take a Barbie doll to the backyard pool, or push a doll on a swing at the park.
Spell with Sticks and Rocks
Collect sticks and rocks and build letters or words with them. For younger children you can write letters, numbers, or words with chalk first and then have your child build on top with the rocks or sticks.
Outdoor Crafts or Science Experiments
Found a craft or science experiment that looks super fun, but don’t feel like cleaning up the mess? Problem solved- just bring the materials outside! Obviously you will still need to clean up after yourself, but there won’t be the stress of waiting to see if your child accidently paints the kitchen wall during your activity.
Make it a goal to spend as much time outside as possible, and enjoy the benefits it provides for both the body and mind.
Let us know – what are your favorite kid activities to do outside?